Category Archives: Real Life

Priorities

The coronavirus is everywhere, including here in Colorado. Although we are not to gather in large groups, our governor really likes to hear himself speak, so he has no problem with assembling the media hordes daily to make announcements and rehash what he’s been saying all along.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock decided the governor isn’t doing enough, so today he announced a stay-at-home decree, closing non-essential businesses and banning people from congregating in parks and other public places. Among the non-essential businesses: liquor stores and recreational marijuana shops.

In a panic, people dropped everything to rush to liquor stores and marijuana shops to get the essentials before hunkering down at home.

Long lines form outside liquor and marijuana stores

In order to keep the peace, in less than three hours, liquor stores and recreational dispensaries were removed from the non-essential list.

Mayor reverses order to close liquor stores and dispensaries

This is grassroots activism, Colorado-style. Because, here in Colorado, we gotta fight for the right to party in quarantine.

Accidental Asshole

I didn’t mean to be a jerk. Sometimes I’m in my head and not paying close enough attention, and other people get mad. It happens more often than I’d like to admit.

Vintage gas pumpWe went to the gas station today to fill up both vehicles because I love a great deal, and had 30 cents off per gallon to take full advantage of. To do this properly, I need to pull my car all the way through the fill up lane, so husband can pull his in behind and we both can reach our respective gas tanks with the same hose.

We got there, and I spied a pump opening up. There was a vehicle idling that may have been waiting for an open pump, and I was going to let him take that one, but when his vehicle didn’t move, I took this as my opening, went around him and took my turn. When I got out of the car, I heard yelling, and thought, “Wow, someone is in a bad mood.” Turns out, he was yelling at me for taking “his” pump. I only know this because husband told me I almost started a fight. Oops.

By the time I was old enough to drive, self-serve pumps were everywhere. I’m perfectly capable of pumping my own gas, and in all these years, never set myself on fire or dumped fuel all over my body. I did once step away from my car when it was filling, and the pump thing didn’t click off, so I paid for about 5 gallons of gas that poured out onto the concrete.

This would never have happened if we still had full-service pumps. I remember driving into the Texaco with my mother when I was little.* There would be a “ding ding” sound as she drove over the alert, and the attendants would come out of the station with a big smile. One would stride up to the car in his starched uniform to pump the gas, clean the windshield, check the oil, and the tires. We didn’t have to get out of the car. I didn’t realize at the time how luxurious that was. 

I wouldn’t trade all of today’s conveniences for someone to pump my gas. If I really wanted that luxury, I could just move to New Jersey. Better yet, I’ll just pay attention next time.

*Always trust your car to the man who wears a star. The big red Texaco star.

Image by Stacey Kennedy

My Daddy Wore Blue Jeans

My dad lived a long, often hard, life. At the end, it’s easy to see that all he wanted was to be a better man than he was the day before.

Daddy was proud of a job well done, and wasn’t afraid of hard work. He never let anyone pay his way. He earned it, and stood on his own two feet. He wore blue jeans, because they were working-man clothes, and boots for the majority of his adult life, because he was a cowboy.

Of all that he was, at heart he was an entrepreneur, a helping hand to those in need, and a protector of those he loved.

For three years a child, he delivered produce, and for three of his adult years, he delivered newspapers by cargo plane. In between, and for years beyond, he did too many things to list. Of the numerous hats he wore, he was a:
Motorcycle Racer
Electrician
Building Contractor
Horseman
Cowboy
Wrangler
Cutting Horse Champion
(Yes, those are 4 different things)
Pilot
Munitions Expert
Radio Operator
32nd Degree Mason
Grand Master
Census Taker
Trucker
Veteran of the Korean Conflict
…and a lot of things I’ll remember after I click “publish.”

I remember hot summers playing in the barn, climbing on the hay bales he told us to stay off of, riding horses in the corral (my chosen horse was Tubbs, because she was gentle), and picking out any cereal I wanted when we went to the grocery store, which was a rarity in a home with 6 kids. He was always happy to see me, and when we were together, he made me feel special.

I’m proud of all he accomplished, and am happy that, with all the ups and downs in my life, we never lost touch. If I disappointed him, I never knew it.

In his final days, his thoughts and concerns were for his wife. She has dementia and is in a care facility with wonderful people watching over of her. He wanted to make sure she’s taken care of as long as she lives. He put things into place in insure that, and tasked my brother with the huge responsibility and honor of carrying out his wishes.

I miss him. The last thing he said to me was, “You did good. You did a good job.” It touches my heart to know he was proud of me, and what I’ve accomplished. While others may bicker over the small things, or fight for an inheritance, those words are a treasure that will stay with me to the end of time.

Rest in peace, Daddy. You deserve your reward.

This photo makes me smile. I think this is the only selfie Daddy took. As you can tell, it was fun for both of us.
Photo of me and Dad

Dead Lions and Babies

There is no privacy, so secrecy, no place to hide. Big Brother is real. Big Brother is us. We’ve given away our privacy to every app we install on our phones, every website we subscribe to online, every company we purchase from, every content provider we meet. If we don’t give it away, our friends do it for us every day by inviting us to play online games, including us in their selfies, and congratulating us publicly for every milestone. The footprints of everyone’s life journey are all over the internet.

William Shakespeare could have written “As You Like It” today, and the words would still ring true. “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…“. We truly are all actors on a public stage; we’re also watchers, reporters, and critics.

Ed Hall
Artizans Syndicate
Jul 29, 2015
MStreeter Savannah Morning News
Jul 31, 2015
Adam Zyglis
The Buffalo News
Aug 1, 2015



Walter Palmer, a dentist from Bloomington, MN, found out just how public his life is when he became the latest recipient of the digital equivalent of a public lynching. You know the story. He is a world champion animal killer who paid an enormous amount of money for the privilege of killing an endangered animal, Cecil the Lion, just because “killing is fun!” and stuff.

It’s not just the editorial cartoons, passionate reports of this story by celebrities, and (improbable) extradition to Zimbabwe to stand trial for this illegal hunt that troubles Mr. Palmer. The court of public opinion has judged, found him guilty, and has reacted with reviews on his Yelp and Google listings, demonstrations outside his clinic, and a long list of fake and retaliatory social media profiles created solely to punish this man for his crime. As a result, Palmer has gone underground to hide; a privilege reserved for rich hunters, and not for the innocent creatures they kill.

Joe Liccar
The Examiner- Gatehouse News …
Jul 31, 2015

Horrible as this shooting was, and regardless of what we think of Palmer, this is merely a distraction from a much worse crime: Planned Parenthood’s harvesting organs of intact (born alive) babies before killing them. (Warning: some of those links contain disturbing content).

The issue that is always hotly debated is whether abortion is murder. No one can tell precisely when life starts. Can a 20 week fetus survive? A 21 week fetus/baby was delivered and lived. Can a 20-week fetus feel pain? This report says they do. In an age when extremely premature babies live and thrive, when do we stop calling them a fetus (and therefore, just a lump of cells) and a baby – a viable human being? Since it’s not always easy to pinpoint the moment of conception, or actual fetal development, how do we differentiate between the two?

I’ve always lived by the motto, “to each her own” when it comes to abortion. Now, I wonder whether by doing so, I’m enabling women to kill a child that could be loved and raised by a family who desperately needs one. Am I supporting Planned Parenthood’s black market harvesting/killing/profiteering by saying nothing? If it is murder, when is murder okay, and when is it not? If we can kill an “inconvenient” 5 month old child just because it hasn’t taken its first breath, can we kill an elderly person before they are ready to breathe their last, for the same reason?

Yes, the killing of large game, just because one has a lot of money and has become proficient with a bow and arrow is unacceptable. But let’s not forget there are bigger issues that need attention. If Planned Parenthood loses the spotlight, we miss an opportunity to stop the death of a future generation, just because there is a lot of money to be made.

 

Not safe anywhere?

Century 16 theaterThe shootings early this morning at the Aurora theater remind me of how fragile life can be. It can be gone in a split second, when you least expect it. All of the people in that theater had anticipated a great time, and were enjoying themselves tremendously, until something happened to change their lives forever.

We lived within 10 minutes of Columbine when those shootings happened, and it shook me to my core. The fact that the Century 16 is a half-hour’s drive doesn’t make it feel any less close to home.

It’s all so very tragic and sad. And I can’t stop watching the videos, listening to the interviews, and grieving for those involved. Their lives, and the lives of their families and friends, will never be the same.

I called my daughter as soon as I heard. Even though I logically knew she was nowhere near the scene, I had to hear her voice and make sure she was okay. Fortunately, none of her friends were there either. So many mothers are in pain right now, and having nearly lost my own child, I can empathize. I know there is nothing that can ease the agony of a dead child. The pain stays with you forever.

And then I think of the mother of the shooter. To know that someone she carried inside her, that she nurtured for many years, and of whom she was most likely very proud, could do such a thing would have to have torn her world apart. Reports that state that she knew they had the right person makes me wonder what she knew. Could she have done something to prevent this? Had she tried to get him some help? She’s probably asking herself these same questions. She’s probably blaming herself for not trying hard enough; for not pushing him to get help when she knew he needed it.

I don’t blame her. Any loving mother would encourage a troubled child to seek counseling. She’d try hard, and repeatedly. Unfortunately, the stigma given to mental illness often stops people from reaching out. My heard aches for her, as well.

I have no inside information about what was going on in his head. However, if he dropped out of school, something was wrong. He was on the path to a rewarding career, and then stepped off. It’s hard to believe that anyone in their “right mind” would do something so horrific. He might have been extremely depressed, to the point where he was completely out of touch with reality.

What’s the answer? It’s not gun control. Nor is it to issue weapons to everyone and reliving the Wild West. It’s absolutelyNot putting metal detectors in movie theaters. They don’t make us any more safe. They just remind us to be afraid. Afraid in the same way as the TSA screenings, which have never resulting in the capture of a single terrorist, but have completely disrupted the lives of travelers, reminding of that evil is all around us, all under the illusion of “safety.”

One answer is to de-stigmatize mental health issues. If more troubled individuals could seek professional help without the possibility of public ridicule, and the risk of losing jobs, standing in the community, or whatever they fee is at risk when they admit they need help, more of these troubled individuals would be taken care of, without injury to anyone else.

This may not be the only answer, but it’s a start.